Densho Digital Archive
Densho Visual History Collection
Title: Toru Sakahara - Kiyo Sakahara Interview II
Narrator: Toru Sakahara, Kiyo Sakahara
Interviewer: Dee Goto
Location: Seattle, Washington
Date: February 27, 1998
Densho ID: denshovh-storu_g-02-0029

<Begin Segment 29>

DG: Were there any special issues that they deal with during the war?

KS: Not that...

TS: Well, not that I recall, but after we came back, we got active in legislation to restore rights to Issei, to naturalize as United States citizens, to participate in evacuation claims for lost property, not in excess of $2,500.

DG: Did you talk to anybody about it when you were in Salt Lake?

TS: No, this was something that was national in scope and we were just kept advised by the national office to support. And it was surprising that the national leadership would carry on these campaigns for national legislation because they used to just issue floods of reports to the chapter presidents, and we would have to make reports as to what our local chapter was doing to support that activity. But in so far as the Washington chapters were concerned, we had one major political campaign and that was to repeal the...

KS: Alien Land Law.

TS: Anti-alien Land Law, which was, which prohibited ownership of land in the state of Washington by aliens in the, and the provision was part of the State Constitution adopted in 1889 in article 2, section 33. The constitutional prohibition was implemented in 1921 by state statute. But in order to get rid of the prohibition against the land ownership, we had to amend the State Constitution. The history of it was that the territorial laws allowed ownership by aliens, but when the Constitution was adopted in 1889, it somehow got slipped into the Constitution, so we had to repeal the law by vote of the citizens.

DG: So did you, did you personally have to find out these details?

TS: We had to do some legislative research and try to get national and...

DG: But to overturn the state one, did you go to Olympia yourself to look at some of this, or...

TS: Well, we actually formed a committee of Northwest Chapters to carry on the general election campaigns. Two of the, two campaigns we lost and in the third campaign in 1966 we finally prevailed.

<End Segment 29> - Copyright © 1998 Densho. All Rights Reserved.